In the field of fiber optic cabling, termination refers to the addition of fiber optic connectors to each fiber. While technicians have come up with several ways to terminate fiber optic cables, there are two major methods for termination – field terminated and pre-terminated. Learning the differences between the two – and their strengths and weaknesses – can help you decide which is a better fit for your deployment.
Field Terminated Solution
Field termination describes the termination of the fiber at the jobsite. Connectors designed for field termination are generally epoxy-less and require no polishing. Additional field termination options include fusion splicing of pre-terminated pigtails. Trained technicians at the jobsite perform field terminations.
In general, field termination involves higher material and labor costs and extended installation times.
Pre-terminated assemblies, also called factory terminated, are connectorized assemblies built to exact length requirements and could include custom staggering of connectors, custom labels and other options. They are terminated in a facility specifically designed for that purpose. Leading cable assembly houses (CAH) use top of the line automated polishing machines, inspection scopes and factory grade test equipment to test insertion loss, return loss and end face geometry. The overall termination quality and consistency as well as the greatly reduced material and labor costs of a factory pre-terminated fiber trunk makes it the most cost effective solution when precise length requirements are known.
Which is right for you?
Pre-terminated cables are ready for deployment upon delivery. On average, pre-terminated cables cut installation time by 80 percent when compared to field terminations. Performance test reports are included with pre-terminated assemblies. Under normal circumstances only end to end testing is required one the pre-terminated assemblies are installed.
Field terminated cables have their own advantages. Users can cut lead times, because predetermining cable length isn’t necessary. This eliminates the need to create slack storage on site. Users can easily pull bulk cable from either end of the circuit and enjoy on-the-spot repairs due to flexibility in meeting system requirements.
With ever more complex fiber deployment and topology options, network installers and IT administrators must carefully evaluate the available solutions. When deciding between field termination and factory terminated assemblies many factors come into play. It is important to know the pros and cons and the overall cost of deployment for each option.